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Thoughts, opinions, and ramblings about (broadly) children's literature from my perspectives as a writer, parent, and volunteer elementary school librarian. Oh yeah, and poetry of all sorts... with lots and lots of Fibs.
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I'll be signing copies of The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. at the SCBWI booth (that's booth 834) from 12-2. I'll have a few copies available for sale, cash only, or you can bring your own copy OR you can just stop by and say hi because, well, because "hi!!!"
As if that's not enough, you can come see me earlier on Saturday at the Darby Pop booth (booth 066) where I'll also be signing, but in this case, I'll be signing copies of Indestructible... a comic book whose main character happens to be named Greg Pincus. Honest! The creator of the book and some of the amazing artists will be there, too (all weekend, actually), so please check 'em out.
The LATFOB, as it's lovingly known, is a great place to spend some time. There are soooo many amazing children's literature folk will be there that I know I'll be spending all afternoon chatting (and buying, too). I hope to see you there!
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Last week, Tabatha was nice enough to feature some of my poetry over at Author Amok (which you should be and maybe are reading already, of course, so if you already saw the post, forgive me). It's a post that features a few of my clothing-related poems and much more (and is part of a larger feature on clothing/poetry that you should be checking out (as per my prior parenthetical)). I hope you'll check it out....
Ahhh, April! You come in with Foolishness and sustain us with poetry all month long.
This year here at Gottabook... well... there is no master plan for celebrating the month. I have put a pin in 30 Poets/30 Days for now, though it may very well be back in 2016. And this year, unlike when I began here in 2006, I'm not posting an original poem a day, either. There will be poetry love here during the month, no doubt, but there's not an ongoing thang.
My wordplay is weak. My images - bleak. My pacing feels weary, My word choices dreary. My assonance? Blah. And consonance? Ha! My rhyme's a disgrace. My meter's a bit inconsistent. My similes whiff. And zeugmas? As if! My output's pathetic. I'm just not poetic.
Oh! April's sweet showers Please rebirth the powers That March has neglected (This one verse excepted).
I think I should dedicate today's poem to Ms. Harris, my 11th grade English teacher who made all her students memorize the first 18 lines of the prologue to The Canterbury Tales. In Middle English. To be recited. Yes, in Middle English.
Many years later, the first four lines still rattle around in my head... and somehow, someway gave birth to this poem's title and close. I hereby apologize for thinking that this bit of memorization would never pay dividends.
I love the Cybils, have been part of them in a few different ways (a judge the very first year, in fact!), and look forward to watching the award continue to gain the prestige it deserves. I hope you'll go check out my interview there (thanks, Melissa!) and then poke around the site. There's features on other great kidlit bloggers, amazing lists of books, and much more.
Plus you'll get to see a picture of me with a llama. 'Nuff said.
I worried and tutted. My muscles contracted. I stressed and was anxious. My nerves felt compacted. I got quite upset, and it didn't make sense.... I'm present right now but back then was past tense.
Would you believe that today marks 9 full years of blogging here at Gottabook? Yep. My first post was February 21st, 2006, so this is the end of year nine. Where does the time go???? Thanks to all of you who frequent these parts. Blogging wouldn't be much fun without you!
Did you know that there is a podcast called the DCOM Podcast, all about the Disney Channel Original Movies (specifically the ones that hosts Eve and Matt remember and are now re-watching and analyzing)? Well, it's true! Why am I mentioning this, you ask?
It just so happens that I wrote the movie Alley Cats Strike for the Disney Channel, and I had a great conversation with Eve about it. It's now available and worth a listen (if, that is, you have any interest in Alley Cats Strike, the old Disney Channel movies, and how many writing decisions get made for different projects, and, very specifically, how I came up with "Delia's shot" towards the end of the film. Or if you're my mom or a relative, of course!).
It was great fun to revisit an project from the past and think about what I might do differently now and, honestly, what still works well. Thanks, Eve, for finding me. And I hope y'all will check out the podcast in general and its tumblr.
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My New Year's Resolutions Are Making Me Loopy by Greg Pincus
I make ten resolutions every year, and they seem good. But I can never keep them even though I know I should. And so this year I added one when it was time to make 'em: I resolved that this would be the year that I would break 'em! Yet now each time I break one I quite quickly start up weeping Because it means that there is one that I continue keeping. Yet if I keep one then it means there's one that I am breaking Which means I've kept what I resolved, of that there's no mistaking. But keeping resolutions means I broke my resolution Which means, again, I've kept the one I thought was the solution. Still, keeping means I'm breaking... and I'm feeling like a dum-dum Since now I fear I'll spend my year resolving this conundrum.
I know I could use this space to tell you profound things I've learned over the course of the year just passed or of interesting experiences I plan for the year ahead. But it's the 31st, and I have much to do, so all that will wait til next year, as will new poems and other news.
Instead, I simply wanted to pop on and wish you and all of yours a happy, healthy, and rewarding 2015. I'll see you here in the new year!
It's been a month since I last posted, I see! That may be a Gottabook record, though I'm not gonna go through the last eight years and check if that's okay with y'all....
Much has been going on over the last month personally, professionally, and in the world at large (children's literature related and beyond). Along that latter line... I wanted to point out Hope Through Stories, the brainchild of author Joelle Charbonneau.
It's a simple idea - authors sending signed books to the Ferguson, Missouri library (which has stayed open even when schools where closed). Some of you might be able to join me in this particular initiative, yet there are other great ideas, too, and this is not a "pick one" or "this one's better." I have been heartened by all the donations to the library even as I know there are so many other worthy causes all around that so many of you... us... others contribute to in so many ways.
Still... I am a big fan of hope. And along those lines, I hope all my US readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving, as I did. And I know, too, that I'm thanksful to share this space with you (even when I take a month off!).
I’m the squeak upon the stair... Yet when you look, there’s no one there. I’m howling winds, groaning floors, Extinguished lights, slamming doors. I’m flitting shadows, darkening skies, Piercing screams, distant cries. I’m all your fears – heard, felt, or seen. I’m in your head. I’m Halloween.
Halloween is on Poetry Friday again (with the roundup hosted by Linda over at TeacherDance)! This makes me happier than peanut butter cups, I gotta say. May those of you who trick-or-treat have a happy, safe evening (same for those of you who don't, by the way). And... boo!
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Well, maybe not "need" but how about we could all help?
We Need Diverse Books (the group, not simply the concept) has announced a new award - The Walter (named for Walter Dean Myers) - and is kicking off an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for it.
There are some gooooooood bonuses for funders... and a way to simply help spread the word by using the #SupportWNDB hashtag on Twitter (tomorrow during the hashtag party at 1 PM EST sure, but even beyond that!)
I'm super excited to be part of the Vegas Valley Book Festival coming up next weekend in (wait for it....) Las Vegas! I'll be at the Festival all day Saturday the 18th - at one point getting to be on stage with Alan Katz, at another time in the Storytelling tent.
Plus, one cool thing about the Festival is that they're sending me to a school on Friday, too - kinda bringing a part of the festival to the kids, just in case they can't make the whole event. Pretty cool, I say.
If you're in Vegas this weekend, I hope you'll stop by or otherwise say hello!
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It's Banned Books Week again... and this time oft-banned Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants is on a fabulous graphic that I just had to share. Look, I'm not gonna say "you must go read banned books now!" Instead, I'll say "I bet if you/your kids read a bunch of great books, you'll find that some of them have been banned. Maybe most of them."
I love Dav Pilkey's quote, too (referenced here, though I'm not sure it's the original source):
"I don't consider the books to be anti-authoritarian, but I do think it is important, if you think something is wrong, to question authority — because, you know, there are villains in real life, and they don't always wear black capes and black hats. Sometimes they're dressed like authority figures. And kids need to know that it's important to question them."
What he says! And support librarians and teachers this and all weeks when folks try to speak for more than just their own children's reading options.
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Tomorrow is the last day to register for this year's Kidlitcon - the greatest gathering of bloggers in the children's and YA space around, I tells ya! It's in Sacramento this year, on October 10th and 11th. It's chock full of great presenters. And. You. Should. Go!
The Middle Toe Sets the Record Straight by Greg Pincus
My choice might surprise you - though in your defense, I think you're tripped up by a matter of tense - But I've done it for me, not to be a contrarian: Yes, this little piggie has gone vegetarian.
I know. I know. You're thinking "he took a long blogging break and came back with that?" And I'm thinking "Darn tootin'! And that's why you're here!" Or maybe you're here because it's Poetry Friday, and you're looking at the roundup of posts - kindly collected by Laura over at Author Amok. Doesn't matter to me, though. The middle toe and I are just glad to have you around.
And guess what? If you want to get all my new poems (and only the poems) emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, just enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!
My friend and fellow blogger Elizabeth Aquino has just published an ebook called Hope for a Sea Change. It's a true story about her experiences raising a family, and, more specifically, raising her oldest daughter, Sophie, who was diagnosed with a rare seizure disorder at the age of three months. Sophie's 19 now, and only recently, with the addition of CBD, has had her first days without seizures since 1995
Elizabeth's a fabulous writer, and the book is a great, fast read, even while being an uncompromising look at her experiences. Unlike pretty much everything else I discuss here, this is not a book for kids or the classroom, though I assure you everyone at any age would be affected by it.
Whenever he visited, they disappeared - He was the person that every box feared. From Froot Loops to Crispix to Bunches of Oats They'd tremble with fear as cries caught in their throats. Organics would quake as if made out of filler... For no one escaped from the cereal killer.
A homophoem is poetic form in which you use a homonym/homophone (or many) to create a "plot twist" or unexpected punchline. I believe J. Patrick Lewis came up with the form, and the above poem was written in response to a prompt from him (over at The Miss Rumphius Effect). I'd never shared the poem here, however, and figured it was time!
It was 20 years ago today - hey, I like that phrasing - that Little Big League opened in theaters. I wrote the original screenplay for it, which makes me biased, but I've always liked the film... and yes, I still remember the premiere.
It is truly amazing to me that something that started as a little idea in my head (as I drove on the 405, no less) turned into a movie that's still around today. And not only is it still around, but if I may just share this article by Eric Dodds that appeared on Time.com today:
It can be lonely writing (or illustrating or composing or creating anything), and I admit that sometimes when I'm working, I wonder "huh, will anyone but me really care about this story?" Then the thought goes away because really... well... I'm writing because I care about the story. Writing comes, writing goes... and then comes a day like today where, when I'm not expecting it, I get a really big affirmative answer to that long ago question.
I'll keep that feeling in the back of my mind as I keep writing my current manuscript. With luck, that feeling will help sustain me on those days that the story falls apart - because it will - and remind me that the work is worth it (because some days it won't seem like it). And somewhere along the line, I'm sure I'll ask that same question again... then keep writing because, well, I care about the story. And that's enough. Still, I'll take days like today, too!
Happy Anniversary, Little Big League! And thanks for the memories....
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Sigh. Today is the return to the "normal" world for me, with no more of the SCBWI Summer Conference happening. 1200+ people came to #LA14SCBWI, and it truly felt to me like hanging out with 1200+ friends (which means it was fantastic and overwhelming and inspiring and all that over and over again).
This year, I was on faculty, doing a breakout about how to be effective on Pintwitfacegramblr (or any social network) and doing one-on-one social media consultations. I'm grateful to the SCBWI folks for adding something new to their plate with those, and feel utterly amazed and humbled to be part of faculty at the event in any capacity. Mighty talented folks those faculty members, and nice as can be, too.
I can't yet pick just one memory to share, so I'll wait a bit as I process. But I do know that it was great to see so many friends from online and offline, to share the love of creating books for kids with others who "get it," and to spend time in the happy bubble of smart, fun, compassionate people that makes up SCBWI.